Hidden Figures: A Touching Movie of a True Story
Hidden Figures (2016) is a beautiful movie about three black women who worked at NASA in the 1960s. Based on a nonfiction book with the same title, the story follows Kathrine Goble (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer), and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae), three mathematicians in Virginia in 1961. Kathrine works to assist Al Harrison (Kevin Costner) in the space task group. The women also work alongside Vivian Mitchell (Kirsten Dunst) and Paul Stafford (Jim Parsons). At NASA, during the space race, everything was divided by race and sex. The story shows some of the hardships the women faced, like microaggressions and sexism from those around them. The movie has a few scenes that are hard to watch, but the story mainly focuses on the bravery of the women and all the things they overcame in the face of adversity. The movie mainly highlights white supremacy and sexism, but regardless, these women made their mark in history and changed the system for many Black women after them.
As far as historical accuracy, this movie does a good job of delivering. Everything feels spot on, from the cars to the clothes and accessories. Beyond that, the pieces on the racism and sexism that Black women faced were on target, from the separation of the bathrooms and Mary having to go to court to take classes. The women must justify their work and their entire existence throughout the movie. Dorothy is denied promotions even after working with several different computers and finding errors in others’ work. She gets treated with little respect and is sent back every time. Even with all these things going on, the women never waver and keep on working. There are some sweet moments where we see the women let loose and have fun together. In a way, they are ignoring what’s going on just to have a sense of normalcy. For movies with heavy topics such as this, it’s nice to have these sweet moments to remind the audience of the good parts, even if they are small.
As far as following the real storyline of these women, it was very accurate. Of course, some things are dramatized for the movie, but nothing is ever too much or too little. With an all-star cast, it’s always fun to see how everyone works together, and this was no different. Not only does everyone look good together, but they all act well together. The chemistry between the characters, especially with the three stars, always feels natural and never forced. Regarding the performances, everyone does a great job taking on these roles. It is harder with more serious roles because they can be draining, but no one falls flat; everyone holds their own in the movie. Visually the movie is stunning, there are a lot of great shots throughout the film, and the sets are amazing. The old NASA set with the computers and other pieces of equipment looked amazing. The entire environment they built with the NASA building felt real and cool to see on screen.
When Hidden Figures was released in 2016, it received generally positive reviews and earned a few nominees at the 89th Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. It was mainly praised for its heartwarming story and portrayal of important historical moments.